Staff from our Highgate based supported accommodation scheme, Conybere Gardens, took a group of young residents to the mac theatre to see a play called “Benefit” was put on by Cardboard Citizens.
Conybere’s Youth & Community Work Student who accompanied the young people said:
“Benefit highlighted the struggles that people face on a day-to day basis, the storyline portrayed three individuals, struggling to live with the challenges of the benefit system. One story portrayed a foreign woman living in the UK, another story portrayed an individual with a mental health condition that left him isolated, and the last story portrayed a man struggling with a sex addiction that’s ruining his relationship. These stories are about lives and loves and the social systems in which they all become dependent upon”.
“I feel these stories portrayed were insightful and educational, it allowed the young people to hear of real life stories and statistics about the benefit system those that they could either personally relate to or understand”.
“The second half to the show, was interactive this gave the audience a chance to pause the show and talk about what they would do differently to help the individuals. The audience response highlighted ‘Patrick’ the individual living with a mental health condition that was isolated by those that were around him – not taking the time out to listen and support him effectively with his condition. The audience was also given the chance to step in as the character and also show what they would do to potentially to change the story. Rohan (Conybere’s Resident Rep) and Trevon (another Conybere resident) passionately expressed their views in this section… Rohan went on stage and played the role ‘Patricks friend’, to be supportive and answer any difficult questions for him. This proved successful as Patrick seemed to be getting the appropriate support. Trevon also stepped in as Patrick’s friend and expressed his concerns of the medication Patrick was receiving, he also made a relevant point which was… “Why prescribe drugs, instead of trying to find out the problem first? It was impressive to see the young people confidently expressing their views in this part of the show. All in all the show was delightful to watch, and was also interesting listening to the views of others especially our young people”.
Written by Z. Russell, Youth & Community Work Student